The screen stared back at him, stark and bright. The words stood out, in black careful shapes, and glared at him. Just the curve and dip of each letter looked like betrayal.
He knew he loved her. He was sure. He typed it with slow, deliberate strokes: “I know I love her.”
The screen agreed with him, letters scrolling onto the page. It was two lines down from the paragraph he’d finished five minutes before, of which the last line read, “it’s just that when I leave and she stays I don’t think I’ll be sad.”
The cursor blinked at him, accusing. On and off, the thin black line disappeared and flashed on again, daring him to write more. To say something he knew he’d regret. That was ridiculous, he told himself. He wasn’t going to regret typing something on a screen where she would never see it.
When he highlighted the whole thing with a couple taps on the keyboard, the letters lit white on the black background. He stared, rereading what he’d written. His eyes traced over the word again, catching on a few. “Tired,” “love,” “pointless,” “sandwich.”
He hit the arrows and watched the cursor flare on and off again at the start of a new line, dark against the white and then gone. Leaning forward, he wrote, “Maybe we weren’t meant to be. Except of course I don’t believe in that crap. I just want to know if what I can have with someone I haven’t even met yet might be better. Maybe.”
It looked silly to him. Now that he’d typed it out, the words seemed shallow and empty. They unfolded in his head again, though, and he sighed. The thoughts that had been prickling at his restless mind were now spelled out on his computer screen, in a jumble of awkward sentences, but that didn’t banish them from his head. They were still itching, thoughts that he wanted to crush and paint over until he couldn’t see anything but the bumps where they used to be. Instead, the color melted off and they still stood there, as if bold and black pressed against the gritty white of his skull. Try as he might, they wouldn’t go away.
“Maybe it’ll get better. Maybe this is just a phase, sort of like a I don’t know this is stupid. Maybe I’m just being stupid and then later when we’re together even longer then maybe I’ll love her again like I did before and maybe it will stay that time.”
Every time his finger fell on a letter he wanted to wince, and he looked at the sentences he’d just typed like children who were promising they wouldn’t take an extra cookie. He bit his lip, and heaved a breath. Then with another rapid poke at the keyboard he highlighted all the text again and looked at it shining from the darkness that contained it. His hand hovered over the delete button – he just wanted it all to go away. He let his finger drop and watched the words vanish, leaving a clean bright page in its place, pure and beautiful. It was perfect.